Canada’s banking system has been ranked the world’s soundest for the third straight year by the World Economic Forum.
The Geneva-based think-tank also puts Canada in the top 10 countries for availability of financial services, corporate ethics, and overall quality of the educational system.
“It’s good to be No. 1,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Thursday in Kitchener. “It has made a big difference in terms of Canada’s reputation in the world, and our leadership in the world in the G8 and the G20, particularly with respect to fiscal matters.”
Canada’s big banks withstood the financial crisis without taking government bailouts, and recorded only a fraction of the $1.3 trillion (U.S.) in writedowns taken by banks and brokers worldwide.
Still, Canada dropped one place overall to rank 10th in the annual listing of competitive economies, released Thursday by the World Economic Forum.
Switzerland held on to the top spot for the second year in a ranking that blends economic data with a survey of more than 13,500 business executives.
The U.S dropped two spots to land at fourth place due to huge deficits and pessimism about government. It ranked No. 1 in 2008.
The think-tank said Canada benefits from highly-efficient markets, well-functioning and transparent institutions and excellent infrastructure.
The report also said Canada has been successful in “nurturing its human resources,” ranking sixth for health and primary education and eighth for higher education and training.
Canada’s competitiveness and potential would be enhanced if it improved the “sophistication and innovative potential of the private sector” with greater research and development, it said.
The survey also listed tax rates, access to financing, and inefficient government bureaucracy as the most problematic factors facing business.
Sweden moved up to second place while Singapore stayed at No. 3.
The forum praised the United States for its innovative companies, excellent universities and flexible labour market. But it also cited huge deficits, rising government debt and declining public faith in politicians and corporate ethics.
The report ranks 139 countries on business efficiency, innovation, financial markets, health, education, institutions, infrastructure and other factors.
Switzerland held its top rank due to its strong innovation, evenhanded regulation and one of the world’s most stable economic environments.
China performed best among major developing economies, rising two places from last year to 27th based on its large and growing market, economic stability and increasing sophistication of its businesses.
Japan gained two places, helped by strong innovative abilities, though its status was hurt by the country’s two-decade-old financial malaise.
Greece plunged 12 places to 83rd, plagued by a debt crisis and mounting public concern about corruption and government inefficiency, according to the WEF.
Chad placed last in the ranking, below two other African countries – Angola and Burundi.
With files from The Associated Press

Not bad, slipped a bit but still pretty good for a nation of 33 million.

Seems Obama is destroying the US.